What we have learned from the Aaron Glaser case is that if a woman doesn’t report a rape to the police, or if she does but it doesn’t go to trial, we’re not allowed to talk about it in public and no repercussions, no matter how minor, are appropriate. If the law doesn’t hand down the appropriate punishment, if there is insufficient evidence or a rape kit is lost or a thousand possible things, her experience isn’t valid and she can’t talk about it, because it was never proved in a court of law. That’s some witch trial shit. All due process means is that he can’t be jailed before trial. It doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed or used as a reason not to book him, not to employ him as a teacher.
Other dudes say “He’s a good dude”, which means, “He’s never mentioned being a serial rapist.”
The dude might say “I’m not a rapist”, because he thinks maybe I raped somebody 3-4 times or whatever, that’s not what I AM, I baked a cake once, I’m not a BAKER.
If a woman says, “I don’t wish to do comedy around my rapist”, her option is to stay home.
If a woman says, “I don’t wish to file charges and go public about being raped, which will make me feel vulnerable and strange and it will make people treat me differently”, her option is to shut up.
What do we do, as women comics? We talk about it amongst ourselves, in secret groups, we get called gossips and shit-stirrers, we maintain secret lists of people we’ve heard are rapists or sexual predators because that makes us feel safe.
That also means, if a woman is attacked who didn’t remember a name from the list or isn’t a member of a secret group, it’s back to being her fault.
This week a friend asked me about a comic I know, who I know to be someone who sexually assaults unconscious women. The word is that he has raped a comic in my old town when she was drunk.
Is the comic going to report it? No. She feels guilty. She feels ashamed. She has been violated. She wants to comfort herself and put it away.
So, we can’t do anything to protect each other or ourselves, all we can do is repeat, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that happened. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I believe you. I’m sorry.
My own policy on rape and sexual assault is: I always believe the victim, because 1. false reports are rare and 2. society is predisposed not to believe the victim.
My policy has lost me friends, because I didn’t “back up” an accused assaulter and other men in our circle think I’m not a good pal, because he’s a good dude.
And that’s a thing I’ll have to live with.